Boys Basketball: Top three HOL teams win Thursday
BRECKENRIDGE - The race for the Heart O' Lakes conference title remained status quo Thursday night as the three top teams all won, including Perham's 61-38 victory on the road over the Cowboys.
Pelican Rapids won at home over Frazee 68-39. Hawley earned a win at Barnesville 85-72.
No. 3-2A Hawley and Perham remain tied atop the conference at 7-1. Pelican Rapids keeps pace at 6-2.
Perham won their eighth straight game, Hawley their seventh and the two teams will collide Friday, Feb. 8 in Hawley.
After three early lead changes at Breckenridge, Perham methodically pulled away from the Cowboys.
Breckenridge operated a shifting defense between zone and man-to-man trying to put a stop to Perham's scoring.
"We adjusted to how their defense was and just played our game," Nick Bahls said.
The Yellowjackets were content to control the ball in the first half and took a 25-16 lead into the break on the back of 10 points from Hunter Salathe and a statement dunk on a breakaway from Jordan Hein.
The six-foot-two Salathe had a strong game down low outplaying Breckenridge's duo of six-foot-four Jordan Christensen and six-foot-six Nate Lorenz.
Salathe led all scorers with 17 points. Christensen and Lorenz combined for 16, nine by Lorenz.
Perham junior Nick Bahls entered the starting lineup in place of senior Josh Nordick, who remains sidelined after taking an elbow to the face in the Pelican Rapids game last week.
"Had to fill big shoes with Nordick gone," Bahls said. "He's a leader, definitely."
Bahls sank two threes in the first half to kick start early momentum and scored a dozen points, second only to Salathe on the team.
Eli Beachy scored 11 points. Tyler Glines and Jordan Hein added seven. Jake Anderson scored five points. Hein pulled down 10 rebounds.
Midway through the second half Perham led by 17 and stretched the lead to a 23-point differential. Perham defeated Breckenridge at home in December by 26 points.
Accustomed to a height disadvantage, the Yellowjackets won another rebound battle taking 25 balls off the board to 23 from the Cowboys.
Breckenridge falls to 3-11 on the season and 1-7 in the HOL. The Cowboys have lost four straight conference games to Barnesville and the top three teams.
Perham travels to Detroit Lakes Saturday before hosting Barnesville (8-7, 3-4) next Tuesday.
The Trojans hanging with Hawley at home in Thursday's 13-point defeat shows they are not beyond pulling an upset.
The difference in the top three teams and the remainder of the conference is seizing momentum and closing out games.
While Breckenridge struggled to keep pace on the defensive end, upon getting a stop, found ways to turn the ball over - 24 times in the game to just 14 for Perham.
Perham took advantage by putting up points and continually building on their lead to the final horn.
"Any team, away, is going to be good," said Bahls. "We just have to come out and play our game and you know, it went our way."
Ryan Bruggeman had a big game scoring 23 points in Pelican Rapids' 68-39 victory over Frazee. The Vikings held the Hornets to only 12 points in the first half.
Hawley had five players in double figures in their 85-72 win over the Trojans.
Ben Ellefson scored 20 points, Dalton Leaf 14, Jordan Harms and Jacob Crompton 13, and Devon Pekas 12.
Austin Martz had 19 in a losing effort.
PER 25 36 -- 61
BAR 16 22 -- 38
PER: Salathe 17, Bahls 12, Beachy 11, Glines 7, Hein 7, Anderson 5, Muer 2.
BAR: Busse 13, Lorenz 9, Christensen 7, Smith 7, Grohman 2.